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The Multiprotocol Transport Networking (MPTN) architecture is a general solution that breaks the binding between distributed applications and communications protocols. The MPTN architecture enables existing applications to run unmodified over any communications protocol. In this paper, we first present the trends in networking that resulted in today's networks supporting multiple communications protocols. Next, we describe the classes of problems this support causes. The MPTN architecture is described and presented as a solution to many of these problems. We also present several alternative solutions to the multiple communications protocol problem and compare them to the MPTN solution. Last, we describe the IBM AnyNet™ family of products that implement the MPTN architecture.
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